Chicago Lounge

I spent a lot of time at the Chicago Lounge. It was a neighborhood bar in the hood. I was one of two white regulars.

There was a gay bar across the street. One night a gay guy got lost and came in. The other customers didn't really care. He just sat there with a shit eaten grin and listened to me music. (This story is not anti gay. I have no problem with gays. What you do is what you do and I have no say. This is in the story because I think it is a funny story.)

One of the older regulars, Cal came up to me and said, "Lee, see that white gay guy?"

I answered, "Yes, so what?"

"In case you haven't noticed this is a black bar. He is white and he is gay. That's two strikes against him. Cook was here when it was a white bar. He just never noticed the change in color of the neighborhood and the clientele of the bar. Since he was here first we can't send him away.

You came her and we all liked you. You were like a brother and a lot of the time we forget that you are white. When we bad mouth your race you agree and you fit in with the conversation. We decided you ain't white and we accepted you.

The problem is that he has two strikes, Cook has a strike and you have a strike. That if my addition is right is four strikes. That is one strike too many."

The white gay guy left and went to the bar across the street. Every once in a while he would come in the Chicago Lounge and sit there with his shit eaten grin and enjoy the great music shoot pool every once in a while.

Sure he was different. So was everyone else. If you get rid of people because they are different you will be the only one around. The differences are the things that make us interesting and gives us something to talk about.

Cal was shooting a good stick. He held the table for about 10 games. I was up and I have been hot lately. We were down to the eight ball and he missed so he started to put his stick up. I had a good side pocket shot.

I said, "Don't put your stick up, Cal. I am going to miss this one. Cross corner."

He got his stick back and asked, "Why?"

I said, "Because it's there."

That sucker went so fast you couldn't see it go into the pocket.

Cal stood there with his mouth open and said sadly, "You lied. You said you were going to miss it."

I said, "How many times have you been told that you can never trust the white man."

Smith, the owner would get mad at me because I would shoot cross corners, cross sides, double bank and combination shots when I had a straight in shot. I always told him that I needed the practice. But when I did it they were dead shots (a sure thing).

Smith was pushing 70 but he was tall and tough. You did not mess with Smith.

There was a customer that would get drunk and play the juke box and laugh and dance by himself. He didn't bother anybody so nobody said anything. A young man was in the bar and the dancer accidently knocked into him. He started yelling at out favorite drunk and everyone in the bar was getting ready to stop it.

The guy was starting a swing and Smith grabbed his arm.

He said, "MF you are out of here!"

They guy screwed up and said he wasn't going.

Smith was pissed. He grabbed the guy bu the collar and the belt. Carried him to the door. A customer opened the door but the guys head was helping. He was thrown out.

15 minutes later he came in and asked for his brief case. He apologized to Smith and or resident drunk. Bought a round for the bar and stayed until closing.

I was a pretty good player. If I was more consistent I could have been a pool shark.

I was once told that I had a eye for pool. I could spot combinations and banks that were dead shots. The only problem was that my stick sucked.

As I got better I would shoot real well with the difficult shots but I would choke on the easy shots.

Phyllis was a friends sister. She had a good stick (a good body too) The first time we played I had held the table for about five games.

She said, "Don't let up on me. Play your best."

I played a good game but I choked on the eight ball and missed an easy shot.

She said, "You missed that on purpose." Then she sank the ball she had left and got the eight ball.

The next time I came up she broke and I ran the table.

"You didn't have to be so rough on me!"

I figured it was PMS time.

Art would sign in on the board with a drawing of a crown. He said he was the king of pool. I said he was the king of mouth. He would talk the whole came about how he was going to beat your but.

I came up and he said, "I am going to leave you with four balls on the table."

I looked him in the eye and said, "You pissed me off. When I finish with you that crown will be a piece of shit."

I blocked everything out of my mind but the pool table. I didn't hear the music or Art's mouth. He only sank one ball on the break then I ran the table.

Art said, "That was a lucky game. I will get you when I get the table back."

To make him feel worse I played a bad game, lost and left.

The next night he was there. He still signed in with his crown. He still had a big mouth.

The next game I played the same way with total concentration on the game. This time I ran some on the first turn and the rest on the second. I lost the game after and left.

The next night he came in later than usual. He signed in as Art. When he got on the table he wasn't as good as usual.

His buddy said to me, "You really got to him. All he talks about is beating you."
I said, "I noticed he signed in with his name. His mouth is not as active either. Don't worry about it. He will win but he will have to work for it."

I got down to the eight ball and missed. He sank his last two balls and missed on the eight. I had a long shot but straight in for the eight. I looked at him and his mouth was shut. He looked like he was ready to cry. If I make this shot I win the game but I break his spirit.

I decided that I was going to shot the eight ball hard and have it bounce out of the pocket and go across the table and into the other corner. The devil in me said to call it like I was going to do it and the good guy said call the corner I am going to pop it out of. The good guy one.

I shot it so hard and fast that he thought I made it then noticed it went in the other corner.

He shook my hand and was himself again with two exceptions. The crown was gone and the mouth was tamed. From then on I won about half of the games I played him. I went back to shooting pool for fun and enjoying the game and my opponents.

© Copyright 2001 Lee W. Gaylord

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